Aug 8, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

‘There is light at the end of the tunnel’: Eskom on load-shedding

Andre de Ruyter, Eskom’s CEO, says the utility is trying its best to end load shedding quickly, but there are significant challenges.

De Ruyter said the risk is high remains as the system is unreliable and unpredictable.

While Stage 4 is expected to see load shedding for most of the week, De Ruyter hopes to have Stage 4 by Friday from 5am to midnight 3 and from 00:00 to 05:00 to continue with Stage 2.

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“If all our units return as planned, we intend to run load shedding 24 hours a day for the weekend Level 2 to reduce.”

De Ruyter said the utility is doing its best to return system stability.

“Unfortunately, due to the unlawful strike, we have suffered significant backlogs in maintenance and had to operate systems under less than ideal conditions. It will therefore take a few weeks for them to fully recover,” he said.

Eskom COO Jan Oberholzer said six power plants were directly affected by the strike.

“The loss of capacity was a result of industrial action and due to a lack of routine maintenance, a lack of timely breakdown repairs, a lack of maintenance and operations personnel, and a lack of unit controls to control the normal operation of the power plants,” he said.

He said the shortage of operations and maintenance personnel during the strike resulted in insufficient essential maintenance.

“During the strike, no routine maintenance was performed at these stations. Koeberg Block 2 has been further delayed and is not expected to return until the end of the month,” he said.

Oberholzer said four generators are out of service due to boiler tube leaks, but the units are expected to return later in the week .

“Since July 3, we had shut down 13 generators due to defects and failures. Some units will return over the next two days, contributing to additional capacity. We have restored our emergency dam and diesel readings but will use these as needed throughout the week. At night, when demand is lower, we will refill the dams and diesel,” he said.

Oberholzer said Eskom hopes to complete the current round of load shedding in 10 days.

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“However, risks remain due to the unpredictability and unreliability of the system,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said earlier Monday that Eskom would have land available alongside existing power plants for private investments in renewable energy projects. He said design modifications had been completed to improve the performance of Medupi units 1, 2 and 3.

De Ruyter confirmed that they had identified plots with existing grid access spread across several provinces , De Ruyter said the utility had done so over the weekend, attending high-level government meetings that would hopefully “speed up” solutions to bring more capacity to the grid.

De Ruyter welcomed the announcement of a police task force, designed to combat sabotage and criminal activity at Eskom.

“The prospects for load shedding are that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, but we appeal to South Africans to continue to conserve electricity. I’ve had many reports of streetlights on during the day and office buildings with all the lights on all night. We urge all energy consumers to save electricity, especially during the peak period of 5pm to 10pm,” he said.

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